Reports of a used car racket impacting hundreds of Japan-imported cars have left thousands of car owners wondering: have I been scammed?
At least two used car dealers, Rokku auto dealer and Tal-Qasab autodealer, are under investigation for their suspected part in the scam. Both have been suspended by a sectoral lobby group, the Used Vehicles Importers Association.
It remains unclear whether cars sold by other dealerships have also been reported for similar discrepancies.
How to check if your mileage is genuine
Thousands of used cars are imported from Japan by local car dealers each year, and dealerships selling such vehicles can be found all over the island - and Facebook feeds.
Those cars are sold through auctions in Japan, and then shipped to Malta by sea freight. But before they are shipped, cars undergo a technical inspection in Japan by a company called Jevic Co. Ltd.
As part of those inspections, Jevic engineers list the mileage of cars being exported. And those results are publicly searchable.
If you have bought an imported Japanese vehicle in the past years, here is how you can check whether its odometer was tampered with:
- Find your car’s logbook and note down the chassis number. This will include both numbers and letters and should be listed on row 'E' of your logbook, under 'Vehicle Identification Number'.
- Browse to https://members.jevic.com/
- Input the chassis number and hit ‘search’. Ignore the field requesting a serial number.
- You will receive an e-certificate that includes your vehicle's details and its odometer reading at the time of the inspection.JEVIC inspection certificates list the odometer reading at the time the car left Japan.
- Compare the certificate’s mileage count to the mileage on your car at the time you purchased it from the dealer. You can find that figure at the top of the third page of your logbook, under 'last recorded vehicle mileage'. The logbook notes the mileage at the time it was created, meaning you can only use this figure if your car was directly imported from Japan, with no previous owners in Malta. Look out for the 'Vehicle Identification Number' and 'Last recorded vehicle mileage' in your logbook.
- Notice a significant discrepancy? You may have been scammed. Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org and file a report with the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority at https://mccaa.org.mt/home/complaint.
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